What does it sound like?:
Let’s cut to the chase, if you don’t like banjos, bluegrass or Steve Martin’s form of absurdist comedy with a twinge of melancholy you probably won’t like this. For those who do, or who are more open-minded, there’s much to enjoy in this lucky bag of joyful noise.
The unifying theme is the accomplished musicianship which is never less than gloriously cinematic and compelling, bursting from the speakers and so pick-you-up-and-make-you-move-your-feet infectious that even on the first listen these songs catch and stick in your musical memory where others might leave only faint traces, needing multiple listens to settle and find a home.
A mix of pacy instrumentals, sorrowful ruminations and comedy “The Long-Awaited Album” has lots to offer. The single ‘Caroline’ provides a joyful romp through a very 21st century breakup while ‘All Night Long’ and ‘Bad Night’ offer beautiful and melodic ruminations on separation and writer’s angst. If that all sounds a bit downbeat it isn’t. These musicians weald their instruments with skill and precision and the music is joyful and positive whatever the lyrics might have you think. Instrumentals like ‘Angeline the Barista’ and ‘Office Supplies’ crack on like a speeding train and at mainly sub-two minutes never outstay their welcome.
Which leads us to the comedy songs, of which I’m not generally a fan. ‘Strangest Christmas Yet’ tells the tale of a dysfunctional annual family reunion and adds to the canon of Christmas kitsch so it’s hard to be churlish and there’s a sweet moment when Uncle Teddy sings out Joy to the World, repeating the same line over and over again. “Nights in the Lab” is an odd story of a burgeoning introvert love affair, possibly better suited to a TV skit.
Overall this is a lovely record, that bears repeated listens with an infectious sense of both motion and emotion.
What does it all *mean*?
There’s a liminal space between sad and joyful that merits attention.
Goes well with…
A grey day, a Christmas reunion, a doomed affair.
Might suit people who like…
Feelings, bluegrass, banjos, comedy songs and Christmas.